PHOTO: Jon (Joey Ginel) and Amy (Megan Raitano) share high-school history in "Tape" at Theater On The Edge. (Monica Mulder Photography/courtesy photo)
"It’s an impressive visual feat. This hyperrealism extends into the audience experience." - by Matt Palm
Our first review is in for TAPE! Click the link below to read the full review...
FULL REVIEW BELOW:
Twisty, edgy 'Tape' plays out in eye-catching dingy reality
By Matt Palm
Theater on the Edge, an emerging South Orlando troupe, lives up to its name with “Tape.” Stephen Belber’s 1999 play hangs on memories of a fateful high-school sexual encounter: Was it awkward adolescent fumbling? Rough sex? Or was it rape?
Three former classmates meet a decade after graduation to hash out old rivalries, betrayals — and maybe even guilt — in a dingy motel room in Lansing, Mich.
For its production, Theater on the Edge has transformed its 30-seat venue into the seedy Motel 6 room. It’s an impressive visual feat. The wallpaper is peeling — and marked with those strange black smudges of cheap motels, the sort that you don’t want to think too hard about. Banged-up furniture, the rundown air-conditioner (always on the fritz) and generic wall art complete the pathetic picture.
The attention to detail in Samantha DiGeorge’s set design goes beyond the obvious: When the door to the bathroom opens, that awful scummy grout of old, cheap tiles is disgustingly visible.
This hyperrealism extends into the audience experience. Prior to the play’s start, theatergoers watch Vince (Zack Roundy) arrive at the room, set out his toiletries at the sink, run out for beer, pull out the bag of weed he’s hiding under his shirt and complete the other trivial activities one does when checking into a motel.
But the proceedings turn tiresome when Vince starts watching music videos and then falls asleep. Can we still check our phones or talk? What is “pre-show” etiquette? Finally — and thankfully — the action begins.
Director Pam Harbaugh, a theater critic and director at Melbourne’s Henegar Center, does a fine job using her actors’ wary circling, jitteriness and other body language to remind us that there are real stakes here — emotional and possibly legal ones. But at the same time, the overt reality of the setting sometimes shows Belber’s dialogue, or the characters’ actions, to be artificially theatrical.
Actors Joey Ginel, Megan Raitano and Roundy maintain the wary rapport of old friends in an uneasy situation. To say much about who did what to whom in the past would wreck the show’s twists and turns. But I can say this production demonstrates that Theater on the Edge is headed in the right direction.
- What: A play by Stephen Belber
- Length: 85 minutes with no intermission (plus 25-minute preshow)
- Where: Theater on the Edge, 5542 Hansel Ave., Orlando
- When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays (except March 17); 2 p.m. Sundays and March 18; 7 p.m. March 15; through March 19
- Cost: $19-$22 ($16-$18 March 15)
- Online: theaterontheedge.org